Sometimes Always Never was released via Virtual Theaters (check your local independent theater's website) on June 12 and will also be available as a Video-on-Demand on July 10, 2020.

Why is it that when adults decide to play Scrabble for fun, they usually turn it into a serious competition and often end up irritating or annoying other players? There is always the indecisive one who lays down some letters and then snatches them back to do a different word. There's the very experienced player who never seems to make a mistake and plays long and high-scoring words. There are those who question others' words and are always using the dictionary to check spelling and meaning. It seems there is more to this game than meets the eye!

That's certainly true of the role Scrabble plays in this feisty and funny film about fathers and sons, winners and losers, grief and loss.

Alan (Bill Nighy) is a tailor with two sons. Michael, the older one, ran away 25 years ago when he was a teenager. He'd been playing Scrabble with Alan, and stormed out; his father has been looking for him ever since. Peter (Sam Riley) feels like the brother who stayed home in the parable of the Prodigal Son. He's convinced he is not his father's favorite.

Alan plays Scrabble with Margaret and Arthur

The film opens as Alan and Peter are going to look at a body in the morgue to see if it is Michael. Also there are Margaret (Jenny Agutter) and Arthur (Tim McInnerny) who are looking for their missing son. While they wait, they decide to play Scrabble. First-time director Carl Hunter and screenplay writer Frank Cottrell Boyce (Goodbye Christopher Robin, Millions) use this and other Scrabble games to reveal the heavy burdens of grief, anger, disappointments, and hope for reunion that these family members carry around with them.

The title of this drama made us think it would be full of philosophical or metaphysical questions, but it turns out to have a very down-to-earth root. Alan is fitting his grandson (Louis Healy) with a new suit. He points out that the top button is sometimes fastened, the middle one is always fastened, and the bottom one is never fastened. This is the kind of everyday detail evident throughout this film.

Alan and Peter playing Scrabble

In another scene, a waitress in a restaurant asks Peter to name his favorite word. Her's is "soap." They say it together several times. Words, whether on a Scrabble board or in conversation, are some of the small pleasures of our ordinary days and are to be celebrated.